Aquaman, the latest entry in the DCEU, is a quasi-origin story of Arthur Curry, the son of Queen Atlanna of Atlantis and Tom Curry, a “surface dweller” or a non-Atlantean. Before Orm, the half-brother of Arthur, declares war on the surface world for its increasing pollution of Earth’s oceans, Arthur has to team-up with Princess Mera to find the Trident that could supposedly unite the 7 kingdoms of Atlantis, in the hopes of preventing Orm’s war. Yeah, a lot happens in the movie. The DCEU has been a mixed-bag for me. I loved Man of Steel (way more than most people) and Wonder Woman, and liked Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’s ultimate edition. On the other hand, Justice League and BvS (theatrical) were meh and Suicide Squad was a dumpster fire…
Positives – Aquaman embraces the silly aspects of the character and the mythos, and is extremely fun to watch! Jason Momoa plays Jason Momoa but is as charismatic as ever. He’s totally someone you do not want mess with but at the same time, he is also someone you want to drink a beer with. Amber Head has great chemistry with Momoa and does a good job playing Mera, a total bad-ass by the way! Other supporting actors (Patrick Wilson as Orm, William Dafoe as Vulko, Dolph Lundgren as Nereus) all do a fine job, but Nicole Kidman’s Atlanna steals the movie. She does much of the movie’s emotional heavy-lifting and she proves, yet again, why she is one of the best thespians in the business. Performances aside, the movie’s strengths are its incredible visual effects. This movie is so gorgeous to look at and is definitely worth the IMAX ticket price. There is also a fish-out-of-the-water element with Atlanna and Mera when they are on the surface world, which is kinda cute. The fight sequences are pretty well-done, especially the Italy sequence. “That was awesome!” as Aquaman exclaims in the movie! The third act epic final battle reminded me a lot of the Lord of the Rings battles, which once again requires one to watch this movie in the biggest possible screen to truly have a cinematic experience.
Negatives – Read my synopsis again. On top of all that, there is another storyline with Black Manta trying to exact revenge on Aquaman, which makes the movie feel bloated. A lot is happening on-screen which might overwhelm people. The script is kind of a mess and some of the CGI is pretty poor. Unlike Wakanda, we don’t get to see much of Atlantis or experience what it is like living in this world, which is one area I was especially excited to witness.
- Can only certain Atlanteans breathe on the surface? Those cool-looking Atlantean soldiers needed water to survive on land, but Mera and Atlanna clearly didn’t.
- Mera alludes to Orm orchestrating the submarine attack on the Atlanteans but that’s never answered.
Despite its noticeable shortcomings, Aquaman has a lot more hits and is a step in the right direction for DC. While the dark, serious tones was not one of the issues that plagued the DCEU in my opinion, the fact of the matter is that it did bother many people. Thus, Wan’s Aquaman infuses a “new life” and energy to the DCEU, which may just get the naysayers on board. Aquaman is a really good time at the theatre!
Rating – 3.2/5